This week has been as they say, one of ‘those’ weeks! If it could go wrong, it really feels that it has and I have not been, shall we say in the ‘best’ of moods – in fact I’ve been a total grouch. Sorry friends and family by the way!
It certainly feels for me that this week has been stormy, and of course we are all in the midst of a great storm at the moment. After a particularly bad day this week, I went for a walk and found myself stopping by a tree in my local park; and as I stopped and reflected for a moment, I immediately began to feel better.
Stopping by that tree had reminded me of an earlier moment of reflection that I would like to share with you now.
Going back a year or so ago, I had been at meeting and one of the people there had offered to share the following spiritual exercise. She spread a number of pictures out in front of us and after a period of silence, we were to pick one that spoke to us and reflect on that image. I picked a photo of a person holding on to a tree in the middle of a storm; the image had really spoke to me. When I came to focus on it, my first thought rather sardonically was that there wasn’t much depth behind me choosing this particular picture, the day in question had been full of gale force winds!!! However, I felt called to go deeper. There was more to this picture than the obvious; a deeper reason it had caught my attention. At first glance I thought the picture looked very bleak; black and white, a lone figure amidst the storm. However as I looked at the picture, I didn’t feel lonely, isolated or overwhelmed or anything like my initial impression of what the picture seemed to suggest. I looked at it and felt hope and gratitude! My eyes were drawn to the lone figure and what they were holding on to. The tree!!!
I sat transfixed, as I stared at the tree, and the hope that image filled me with. The figure wasn’t alone in the storm, they were in fact stood firm, grounded, they had something to hold onto!
A few years ago if I were to have put myself in that picture, I would have found myself stood alone, with my umbrella inside out, braced against a storm, that threatened to sweep me away with it.
I remember coming to the realisation that day; that though I still may get caught in a storm from time to time; I am no longer like the person in this picture; I no longer feel like the storm is about to sweep me away. I am instead like the person holding onto the tree; standing firm and grounded. The tree of course is my faith; my faith in Jesus.
I am grounded now, rooted in faith. In Jesus I find my hope and strength and with him, I know I can face anything. The fear of the storm, the fear of being swept away is gone; for he will catch me when I stumble and pick me up when I fall.
The insight I had that day was an important one. One that I perhaps needed a gentle reminder of this week; as I had been feeling a little battered and bruised by another one of life’s storms.
So I end this week, perhaps a little worse for wear, but also renewed once more in the hope my faith affords me and the knowledge that through the storms of life, there is always my faith to hold on to. I just need to remember to reach out and take what is already there, waiting for me!